The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jovert Tokayev, delivered a speech at the Astana International Forum, emphasizing his country’s role in international politics. Stating that his aim was to strengthen Kazakhstan’s independence and sovereignty, the Kazakh Leader delivered messages on many issues ranging from security to sustainable development. One of the most striking messages was the need to reform the structure of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
In this context, Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM) presents the views of Prof. Dr. Alberto Frigero, Professor of International Relations at Almaty Management University, in order to evaluate Mr. Tokayev’s messages at the Astana International Forum.
- Can you tell us about the main focal points of Tokayev’s speech at the Astana International Forum in Astana?
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev touched upon various points in his speech. But most importantly, he emphasized the need to restore cooperative relations at a time of geopolitical turmoil. Constructive multilateralism at the global level is the only condition for mutual development.
- In your opinion, what is the importance of the United Nations (UN) as the only universal global organization according to Tokayev? How does he emphasize the need for a comprehensive reform of the UNSC?
Tokayev expressed his respect for the establishment of the United Nations (UN) in the aftermath of the World War II, establishing a common institutional (legal) framework to promote peace and security. At the same time, the structure and voting system of the UNSC, the evolution of the international system and the need to give more voice to middle powers should not be ignored. Tokayev also drew attention to this. In fact, reform of the UNSC, especially on issues related to the veto power of permanent members, has been demanded for more than 20 years. Although many ideas have been put forward in the past, the issue of reform remains controversial as powerful countries are unwilling to give up the advantages of maintaining the status quo.
- Tokayev mentioned the need for the voices of middle powers to be heard in the UNSC. Could you elaborate on Tokayev’s approach to the role of middle powers in addressing global challenges?
In some cases, medium-sized powers have been at the forefront of negotiating compromise solutions that benefit the entire international community. As is widely known, Kazakhstan has been one of the leading actors in support of nuclear non-proliferation mechanisms. In this sense, Tokayev’s speech was reminiscent of the stance taken at the Bandung Conference in 1955, where the newly formed states emphasized their importance on the international chessboard and condemned all forms of colonialism.
- On the other hand, the Kazakh leader also pointed out the reform efforts in his country. In this context, could you elaborate on the principles of justice, rule of law, equality and fairness that the reforms include? Tokayev states that he believes in “law and order”. He emphasizes that this is a solid foundation for building a “Just and Equitable Kazakhstan”. What do you think about this?
Security and the rule of law are essential for an independent Kazakhstan. These are basic values for the survival and growth of a country. Both the Tragic January Events and the Russia-Ukraine War have shown that they cannot be taken for granted. Indeed, these issues are still key objectives of Kazakhstan’s development strategy. However, it is time for Kazakhstan to take another step forward. This is where the rhetoric of a fair and equal society comes into focus.
The most important priorities for the Astana leadership are therefore reducing the socio-economic gap, promoting social equality and ensuring sustainable development. According to Tokayev, the establishment of stability and reliable rule of law will make it easier to take these further steps.
Dr. Frigerio is a professor of international relations at Almaty University of Management (AlmaU, Kazakhstan), author of the book “Dystopian World” as well as several articles on international protection of cultural heritage, critical analysis of contemporary global challenges and application of sustainability principles in various fields. In addition to his research and teaching experience, from 202 to 2022 he held administrative positions at AlmaU, including Dean of the Faculty of Politics and Law. During his professional career, he has given seminars in various countries around the world, including Croatia, Ecuador, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Finland, France, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden. He has also conducted training activities in scientific research, geopolitical analysis, cultural heritage management and personal development.